1999: a lot cooler

CLIMATOLOGISTs believe that 1999 will not be quite as warm as 1998. Figures released by the Australia's Bureau of Meteorology reveal that the average temperature last year was 22.54oC. It was 0.73oC higher than the average between 1961 and 1990. In fact, each year of this decade has been hotter than the years between 1961 and 1990. This is now on track to be the warmest decade since reliable records have been available in Australia.

"Our meteorologists say the hot weather last year was to some extent due to the warmth that typically occurs at the end of an El Niflo episode. It's also the culmination of a long-term warming trend that's been evident since the 1950s," said Mary Voice, the head of the National Climate Centre in Melbourne.

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